May 2 - The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, and the jobless rate plunged. Economists say the report won't push the Fed to hike rates earlier. Fred Katayama reports.
Bye bye winter. The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, signaling activity is rebounding after the unusually cold and snowy weather nearly froze economic growth in the first quarter. Jobs grew at the fastest pace in more than two years. Employers across the board were hiring. The biggest gainers: professional and business services, retail, restaurants, and construction. One shocker: The unemployment rate plunged from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent --- its lowest level since 2008. The rate fell because fewer people looked for work, which normally isn't a good sign. And the average workweek remained the same. That could keep the Fed from lifting interest rates for some time. PNC Financial Services senior economist Gus Faucher said, "This is what the Fed wants to see. They will continue to slow their asset purchases, but this isn't going to force the Fed to raise interest rates earlier." The labor market isn't totally out of the doldrums. Average wages were flat in April. So while more people were hired, those who were working didn't see any increase in their paychecks.